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Tag Archives: Jasper Johns

Hurricane Sandy rolls off the American East CoastGrand Coulee dam, photo JostPhilip GustonGrant Wood

Above photos: J Jost

WeegeeJasper JohnsJost

Russell Means, AIMSusan RothenbergJostThe Real Thing

With the blessings of the Supreme Court’s  Citizens United ruling, which has sanctified money as a form of speech and proscribed any limits for it, the present quadrennial cycle of America’s political landscape has flourished as never before, with literally billions of dollars being spent to broadcast a flood of bile and lies, amplified by the corporate owned “press,” which now merely repeats the calculated sound-bites of the candidates and their PACs and party propaganda organs, and has unleashed a flood worse than that with which Hurricane Sandy inundated New Jersey and New York.  Our electoral system has gone berserk on a hit of endless greenback steroids, and a “politically correct” 4th Estate which seems unable to call a lie a lie, and is clearly in the pockets of our corporatocracy.  Awash in a constant dose of fraud and corruption, our citizenry is numbed, as is clearly the intention of the Wizards of Oz who manipulate this social landscape with the purpose of concentrating the land’s wealth into ever fewer hands and stripping any control of political and economic levers from anyone but themselves.  The Plutocracy is in full flower, shamelessly.   Their advocate Mr Romney, himself of minor wealth by comparison, is game for any contortion required, and the exhausted and corrupted body politic applauds this as if politics were a bizarre circus in which the greater the pretzel twisting, the more the reward.  America has descended in a political death spiral, as if instantly turning itself into a mode of Berlusconi’s Italy in which criminality runs the show and the larger part of the population gazes in admiration at the capacity of the crooks to bend the system to their will.  Where we once pointed to others as the ultimate in corruption – Italy, Egypt, some Central American “Banana Republic” – we can now only honestly point to ourselves.

Edward Hopper

Jost

Shulamith FirestoneEmily Dickenson and Kate Scott TurnerJackie and JFKBrooks Range, Alaska; Sebastian Salgado

Bikini Island nuclear test X-ray1Sol Lewitt drawing

White Elk Motel,  Idaho (Photo: Jost)Shield, Chief Arapoosh, Montana, 1825Jasper Johns, MapGeorge Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon MartinTarget Store (Photo: Linn Ehrlich)Dalton GangDead pines near Butte, Mt. (Photo : Jost)Storm clouds move over west of Palmyra, IndianaAaron Siskind photographBy the tracks, Missoula Mt. (Photo: Jost)

Festooned with the bright colors of the flag, America entered summer 2012 with the bang of fireworks, concomitant fires, and a vast heat wave hinting at our hot future, and of course, the cyclic noise of electioneering.  Soon lawns will bloom with campaign posters – Obama or Romney – though from where I write now – Montana – is more inclined towards Ron Paul.  The drone of pundits will assert a secret knowledge to be found in the arcane tea-leaves of gaffes, and eager to make of our quadrennial electoral charade a contest, they’ll take any dip or bump in “the market” as a sign of disaster or hope for one of the two authorized and permitted candidates.  Blame will be duly apportioned for whatever befalls the nation – a drought or flood, an economic slip, or a bonanza.  Given the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, billions will be spent to cajole the voting population into supporting this or that candidate with an avalanche of falsehoods, lies, and bombast, not to mention legalistic maneuvers to delete from the rolls certain segments of the populace, and where that fails, to confuse them with bogus mailings, false addresses.   It matters, in certain essential matters, not at all who “wins.”  The game is rigged, and while in many domestic matters it will matter a little, in the basic ones governing America’s imperial behavior, it won’t matter at all:  the drones will drone on, the military-industrial complex will continue its path, and we will all follow.   Thus flows the beneficence of our democracy, in which a combination of self-interested hyper-wealth and a vast public ignorance are meant to deliver wisdom to the public domain.  Good fucking luck.

 

John BaldassariJackson Pollock, Lavender MistBy Clearwater River, Idaho (Photo: Jost)Schoops, Photo by Linn EhrlichElvis Presley and Oral RobertsMose Tolliver, Alabama

Miles Davis arrestedJFK Bar, Anaconda Mt. (Photo: Jost)

Walkerville, Mt. (Photo: Jost)Mercury Showroom, Los AngelesBob DaltonWalt Whitman

And so another July 4th comes and goes, announced with barbeques and fireworks, the birth of the nation celebrated in a mindless and drunken splurge.  What was it all about, that Declaration of Independence?

Near Ellensburg, WashingtonSouth Fayette, Pennsylvania

From Nathaniel Dorsky’s Triste

I returned to America from Korea after almost four years’ absence, in mid-March.  Taking a whirl-wind tour from Los Angeles, to Portland (Or.), to Nashville and Knoxville, then on to Tampa, Chicago, Kansas City, and then to Minneapolis, Northfield, St. Cloud and Mankato, Minn., and finally down to Lincoln, Ne. and  Stanberry, Mo. where I shot a film for my friend, Blake Eckard.  I acted in it as well.   The journey was prompted by a wish to get a quick over-all sense of the state of the Union, which I’d tracked somewhat obsessively from my distant perch in Seoul.  From that remove I’d read the statistics on unemployment, the grim news of the economy.   From the glancing view I got on this trip, it was frankly difficult to perceive this, but then I was traveling for the most part in the economic cocoon of academia, a firmly middle-class realm in which $4 for a cup of coffee is taken without a comment.  It was only on an Amtrak ride from LA to Portland, and a few bus rides I took – Nashville to Knoxville, and Mankato to Lincoln – where I was afforded a glimpse of the other America.  The fiscal chasm which divides America is deep, and seems carefully constructed to hide from both sides the reality which unites them.  I found myself wondering how many of those people who filled the restaurants and cafes and bars I was taken to as a guest – often places which on my own I’d never entertain – were living on credit.

Plains Indian Moccasins

Fake Jackson Pollock paintingWoodpeckersPunditsAmerican Menorah

Hydraulic fracturing waste disposal

It’s an election year, and the divisiveness of the last years is being amplified in our four-year cycle of political combat.  In the last few years the Supreme Court has issued rulings which effectually make our supposed democracy a system formally for sale to the highest bidder.   Asserting that corporations are de facto “persons” and that money is speech, the Court has openly condoned what is now legalized corruption, evident in the avalanche of super PACs flushing millions of dollars into the political process, whether for advertising blitzes or into the pockets of  “lobbyists” who in turn slip it into the pockets of our revolving door politicians.   As in the classic American axiom “Money Talks and Bullshit Walks” the massive flow of funds from Wall Street through the halls of Congress is now transparent, and in the form of ALEC has shown up in every State House as well, ready to bend the “law” to favor still more the interests of “business.”   America is busy fracking itself to pieces, all in the name of patriotism, profits, and the God Almighty Buck.  American as Apple Pie.

Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt

The American Dream

Danny Lyons motorcycle in the mid-westJasper John’s NumbersEd Ruscha’s ExitTrayvon Martin’s memorial

On my arrival back in Los Angeles, as I left the plane, an airline stewardess asked me if I was glad to be back.  I answered her, “I don’t know yet.”   It remains my view.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #122

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